UNICEF: 49,000 Children Dying of Malnutrition Due to Boko Haram


Nigeria is still reeling from the uprising of Islamist extremist group Boko Haram, as UNICEF revealed on Tuesday that 49,000 children will die of malnutrition as a result of the revolution. 

The United Nations's children's agency announced the disturbing news on their website Tuesday:

An estimated quarter of a million children in Borno state, North-East Nigeria, face severe malnourishment and risk death [...] as the scale of the humanitarian crisis caused by the Boko Haram emergency continues to unfold.  
As more areas in the northeast become accessible to humanitarian assistance, the extent of the nutrition crisis affecting children is becoming even more apparent.   

[...] Out of the 244,000 children suffering from severe acute malnutrition in Borno this year, an estimated 49,000 children – almost 1 in 5 – will die if they are not reached with treatment.

The jihadist group Boko Haram began their armed rebellion against the Nigerian government in 2009, frequently striking in the northeast and even declaring the region its caliphate. While the military operations have largely ceased, the devastation of the uprising left over 20,000 dead and two million displaced from their homes.

Manuel Fontaine, UNICEF's Regional Director for Western and Central Africa, visited the region and spoke of the suffering which he witnessed in the agency's release:

Some 134 children on average will die every day from causes linked to acute malnutrition if the response is not scaled up quickly. We need all partners and donors to step forward to prevent any more children from dying. No one can take on a crisis of this scale alone.

There are 2 million people we are still not able to reach in Borno state, which means that the true scope of this crisis has yet to be revealed to the world. There are organizations on the ground doing great work, but none of us are able to work at the scale and quality that we need. We must all scale up.

The reports goes on to say that UNICEF appealed for $55.5 million to deal with the Boko Haram crisis earlier this year. However, the organization has only received 41 percent of its request. It also "expects the appeal to increase significantly" as more areas in Nigeria become accessible to humanitarian assistance. 

Suffice it to say, terrorism leaves a lasting mark on a society long after the attacks stop, and hopefully people can unite to aid Nigeria before more children lose their lives.




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